University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Archive for the ‘Alumni’ Category

Meet alumna Justine Leeper

JustineLeeper/Constance Schiano Photography

Justine Leeper Credit: Constance Schiano Photography

Floral Designs by Justine is a dream come true for CAHNR alumna Justine Leeper. Leeper’s Bethlehem floral shop grew out of a passion that began for her at age 14 and continued in her major and minor. Her abilities are still growing. Here is what she said in an interview.

What was your major in the College? When did you graduate? With what degree? I got a BS in 2014. I majored in horticulture and minored in agribusiness management.

What class was most useful to you? I think the business management and marketing classes are helpful for what I am doing now in my own floral design business. The plant ID course is useful in my garden center job.

Tell us some of your fond memories of UConn. I remember the professors, especially Jim Palmieri, who was the advisor for the Horticulture Club. I was president of the club during my junior and senior years. We participated in the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show in Hartford. It was a lot of work to force plants to bloom out of season and set up the 20-foot display, but the club won awards for it.

In addition, I enjoyed meeting so many people in CAHNR. Because it was a smaller college, it gave us the opportunity to take some classes with people who had other majors in CAHNR. (more…)

Alumni couple cope with the challenges of cystic fibrosis


Rebecca Martello Poole and Ray Poole

For Rebecca Martello Poole, a 2000 graduate of the Diagnostic Genetic Sciences Program in the Department of Allied Health Sciences, genetic diseases are not just a professional concern. Rebecca was diagnosed at the age of six months with cystic fibrosis (CF) and has suffered from the debilitating effects throughout her life.

Rebecca met her husband Ray Poole, also a 2000 UConn graduate, in mechanical and materials engineering, while at UConn, and the two moved from Connecticut to Wisconsin, then Kentucky, where they currently make their home. Together they’ve traveled a harrowing path between life and death as Rebecca spent almost two years enduring medical procedures. It started in October of 2014 during a weekend visit to Colorado. She fell ill, landing in the hospital, septic and in heart failure, fighting for oxygen. She continued to decline and on New Year’s Eve, she went into respiratory failure and was placed on life support. At that point the doctors told the couple that she was in end stage CF, and time was not on her side.

Rebecca needed a lung transplant but was too sick for the surgery. She was in a chemically-induced coma for six weeks, spent six months on a ventilator and finally grew strong enough to become a lung transplant candidate. After the transplant, she still had to undergo abdominal surgery, then months of recovery that included hours of physical therapy.

Today, Rebecca is almost two years post lung transplant, and while she has her difficult days, she’s feeling better. “It’s amazing to be able to walk or take a small hike and not cough incessantly,” Rebecca says.


Meet alumnus Lars Demander

Lars Demander

Lars Demander

For over 250 years, Clover Nook Farm in Bethany, Connecticut has been family run. Established in 1765, the farm has continuously passed through the care of many family members and now CAHNR alumnus Lars Demander is carrying on that legacy. Here is what he said in an interview.

What was your major in the College? When did you graduate? With what degree?

I completed my bachelor’s in agricultural science with a minor in agribusiness management at Cornell University in 2014. I earned my master’s at UConn in agricultural and resource economics in 2015.

What CAHNR class was most useful to you?

I found the process of completing my research project at UConn to be the most helpful. I learned about consumer psychology in regards to local horticulture. (more…)

CAHNR in the news

newsprintSome of CAHNR’s people, places and programs made the news recently. The bolded topics are linked to initial media coverage. The roman text links go to additional information.

UConn Magazine. Summer ’17. Highlighted many facets of CAHNR and UConn Extension in “The Next Generation of Farming” article. CAHNR Interim Dean and Director Cameron Faustman and Department of Extension Associate Cooperative Extension Educator Jiff Martin were quoted. A photo of students Marisa Kaplita and Macario Rodrigues illustrated the piece. In addition, students Anthony Chiozzi, Gabriel DeRosa, Marisa Kaplita, Nick Laskos, Tierney Lawlor and Macario Rodrigues were introduced as the “new faces of farming.” See also UConn Today. 6-20-17.

UConn Magazine. Summer ’17. Put James Gagliardi, a plant science and landscape architecture alumnus, in its alumni spotlight. The article described Gagliardi’s horticultural career at the Smithsonian Gardens in Washington, DC and mentioned Ruby Ribbons™ switch grass, a patented and trademarked ornamental grass bred by Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture Professor Mark Brand. (more…)

CAHNR in the news

Students with mobile devicesSome of CAHNR’s people, places and programs made the news recently. The bolded topics are linked to initial media coverage. The roman text links go to additional information.

UConn Today. 5-19-17. Posted a video, as part of UConn Science in Seconds series, about in Cuba. Department of Allied Health Sciences

UConn Today. 5-22-17. Reported on a start-up company that creates a new veterinary cancer treatment, which works with animal immune systems. CEO of the company is Ashley Kalinauskas, a Class of 2012 pathobiology alumna. See also Health News Digest.

Hartford Courant. 5-22-17. Announced  that four UConn baseball pitchers were honored by the American Athletic Conference. William Montgomerie, a right-handed pitcher and a applied resource economics major, was named to the second team.  (more…)